Nobody likes pizza – we just like the way it solves our job to be done

You may be used to customer segments based on demographics or buyer characteristics. 18-25 and 25-35, male and female, with or without a university degree. Businesses spent entire decades designing specific new products for specific customer segments.

Though, if you segment customers by demographics, you’re missing to understand *why* customers buy a certain product.

It turns out, customers don’t buy according to the customer segments you’ve put them into (without them being anyhow aware of it). Instead, customers buy products and services to complete certain tasks (jobs to be done). You’ll discover that Jobs to Be Done can extend across multiple traditional customer segments (customers from different customer segments buying the same product), and across various products (multiple products solving the same job to be done).

This shift from well-defined customer segments, with predictable behaviors, to the use of Jobs to Be Done is particularly urgent today, as consumer behavior is increasingly instinctive and individualistic, unlinked from pre-set customer segments— as TrendWatching points out when talking about “post-demographic consumerism”.

Now: how to define the jobs to be done which are more relevant to your business?

Try to understand which action the customers want to achieve. Which problem do they have? Which situation are they trying to improve? We give guidance on how to use Jobs to Be Done in our Design Thinking and Lean Startup training.

Shift your focus from what people *need*, to what people *need to do*. In fact, you never need a pizza per se, instead you need to eat something tasty, quick and convenient. Just as much as you don’t need an electric drill, you most likely need to make a hole in the wall (or possibly, not even that, if you can find some other way to hang your canvas on the wall).


I’m Giorgio Riva Orsucci, Freelance Digital Creative. Spreading innovation culture is in Board of Innovation’s DNA – if you liked the read, contribute to their mission by sharing this article.

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